Daughter Connie called this morning, stressed after a week of dealing with unrealistic parents. Connie teaches special needs kids and some of the parents seem to be angry with the universe because their child isn’t “normal.” I know being the parent of a challenged child must be a hard burden to bear, however bullying the teacher does not help anything. Nor does it make you child “brighter.”
Some of the blame for her stressed situation lies squarely at the doorstep of the government officials who never enter a classroom, but lay down onerous rules and regulations resulting in red tape. Teachers spend too much time filling out forms. Connie’s average work day is 12 hours, six days per week.
Connie says she loves teaching the kids, but the parents and the paperwork make her life extremely difficult. She says, “I spend my life wishing the day was over.” In other words wishing her life away. She says, “I don’t have a life.”
Connie is contemplating a career change owing to the misery imposed on her by this job. She thinks she will continue to teach, but a different subject. She tells me Special Ed teachers seldom last more than two years. Like social workers, they burn out and go on to other careers.
Connie has two Master’s degrees, one in English (linguistics) and a second in Special Education. She is thinking about going back to graduate school when this term ends and becoming certified to teach Latin. “I love teaching and I’m a good teacher,” she says. She thinks she might switch to a private high school.
I had a heart attack at age 58 and a stroke a few years later, largely owing to being stressed out by work (my co-author the same age had quadruple by-pass surgery around the same time). Heart disease runs in our family, and I don’t want Connie having a heart attack or stroke.
If she needs to leave that job to have a happier and less stressful life, so be it. You only have this life for goodness sake.